Saturday, 31 August 2013

Rainford Show 2013

After coming second last year I thought I might be in with a chance this time... Alas, it was not meant to be as I didn't even get placed! :( The category I chose was Carrot Cake. As is usual there was no info as to how you should interpret this so it was left to the baker to interpret wisely. I, it seems, did not! Tray bake! 

I used my trusty and massively well tested Hummingbird recipe but in hindsight I probably should have used a more traditional one. 

Anyway here's my effort, and pictures of the winners too! 


I originally wanted to to cover the whole cake with frosting but I got tired and just did the top. I actually think it looked quite lovely like this, though definitely not my best carrot cake offering.


It took keen precision to get those layers equal! Cue scales


The village hall.


The carrot cakes. 


1st Place.


2nd Place.


3rd Place.


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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Cranberry and Pistachio Cake

Something a bit different created for a coffee and catch up with a friend. Not something I'd usually try as it seemed a bit faffy but it paid off. Some really wonderful flavours and looked pretty too.




The flavours are definitely not the usual due to the large amount of ground pistachio and orange blossom water in the icing but don't be put off! This is wonderfully moist and satisfying cake. 

Recipe 

Ingredients

  • 8oz/225g very soft unsalted butter
  • 8oz/225g caster sugar
  • 5 medium free-range/organic eggs, at room temperature
  • 6oz/185g plain flour, sifted
  • 4oz/115g unsalted pistachios, finely ground
  • 4oz/115g dried cranberries
  • 2tbsp orange flower water
  • Grated orange zest   
  • Butter for greasing tin

For the icing

  • 4oz/115g white icing sugar, sifted
  • Flat tspn butter
  • 2 tbsp orange flower water

To decorate

  • 1 tbsp whole pistachios
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

Grease a deep cake tin with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale.

Separate eggs and put the whites in a spotlessly, grease-free bowl and put the yolks into a heatproof bowl (this is the start of the faffiness).

Place the bowl with the yolks over a pan of hot water (not boiling); whisk with an electric hand whisk until they pale, thick, foamy and the mix falls back into the bowl leaving a ribbon-like trail. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water otherwise you’ll end up with cooked egg.

Remove bowl from the pan and whisk for a few minutes more until cold, otherwise if it is too hot it will melt the creamed butter.

Combine the thickened eggs into the creamed butter and then gently fold in the flour, ground pistachios, cranberries, grated orange zest and orange flower water.

Whisk the egg whites until firm but not stiff. Add a large dollop of whites into the cake mix and stir to slacken. With a large metal spoon, gently fold in the rest of the whites in 3 batches. When thoroughly combined, spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin, level mix making a small dip in the centre so it rises evenly. Bake for about 1 to 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (check after an hour). If the cake looks as if it’s browning too quickly, cover with either a piece of foil or some greaseproof paper.

Remove the cake from the oven, put the tin on a wire cooling rack and leave for 5 minutes before unmoulding the cake. Leave it to cool completely before icing.

Icing:

Put all icing ingredients into a small pan. Heat gently and stir until smooth and the butter has melted. If the icing is stiff add a little water. Pour the warm icing over the cake.

Crush pistachios, sprinkle over cake and dot with cranberries.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Peppa Pig Cake

So for my little girls 2nd birthday it was decided she would be getting a Peppa Pig cake. She's obsessed so seemed the obvious choice!

Good strong Madeira cake needed for this. I used one featured on Lindy's cakes (just google Lindy's Madeira cake). It's definitely the best Madeira cake recipe I've found and works fantastically for celebration cake making. If you want more details just PM me. Word of warning about the recipe though, you NEED to add the glycerine to stop it going dry and a couple of days standing time will help with the moistness too.
I layered mine with raspberry jam and buttercream. Add lots.


A good layer of well whipped butter cream before the fondant goes on. 


And then I forgot to take more pics but here it is!

 

I just coloured ready rolled fondant / royal icing to what I needed and cut out to Peppa shapes. A few ready made flowers and there you go! I did use a tappit set for the lettering with some flowering paste / gum paste which was fiddly too. Oh and a cake polisher is essential for getting a more professional finish! 

Oh and I might have sprayed with shimmer too! Got a bit carried away...

 







She loved it :) x








Lemon drizzle cake

Here's a pic of a lemon drizzle came I did recently (Hummingbird). A little 'bowed' around the sides but tasted good, though could have done with more lemony syrup throughout the sponge.


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Lavender Shortbread

Here's some shortbread biscuits I decided to do as a last minute idea for a teachers present. I had absolutely no time left to run to the shops but did notice an abundance of lavender in my garden and butter in my fridge!







They couldn't have been easier and when wrapped up in some brown paper and ribbon they looked just lovely. Far better than anything I could have bought last minute in Tesco! 

All butter Lavender Shortbread

Ingredients

  • sprigs lavender (no flowers)
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 150 grams butter
  • 75 grams caster sugar (extra for sprinkling)
  • 200 grams plain flour

Method